THE VARSITY MATCH
The Varsity Match is an annual match between Oxford University Polo Club and Cambridge University Polo Club, played between teams of four players. It is the second oldest continuing polo match in the world. As of 2019 Oxford have won the match 64 times and Cambridge 57 times. The event attracts thousands of spectators yearly, and is a well-established and hugely popular fixture of the British sporting calendar.
The first Varsity match was played on the 27th of November 1878, and has since been held annually with the exceptions of the two World Wars, 1894, 1900, 1960-61 and 1963. The match was originally played at Hurlingham Club, and since 1994 is played at Guards Polo Club.
The match format is unusual as it is traditionally not handicapped. The teams are also mixed, which is a rare opportunity among the Blues sports of both universities. Notable players of the match in the past include Claire Tomlinson, Charles, Prince of Wales and Thomas Hitchcock Sr.
Scenes from the 1879 Oxford-Cambridge Varsity match as depicted by Frank Dadd (private collection)
The Oxford Varsity team 1901: (left to right) W. Astor, Viscount Helmsley, R. F. Wade-Palmer, Maharaj Kumar of Cooch Behar
1980 Varsity Team